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Comments: Week of October 11, 2010

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1. Last week’s issue, “Who Runs New York?” (October 4), traced the contours of the city’s Establishments, anti-Establishments, and proto-Establishments. “It is one of those creative journalistic efforts that should remind us that there is still very much a future for the printed page,” noted an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “Entirely delightful,” praised Julia Rubin at Styleite. Of course, not everyone was so intrigued. “Who runs New York? The same people who always have,” griped the blogger at Tony of All Media. “People with a helluva lot more money, who are prettier and more talented, and who are more politically and socially adept than you and I. Duh. And, yawn.”

2. Jessica Pressler’s profile of hedge-fund manager David Tepper (“Ready to Be Rich,” October 4) was called “amazing” by John Carney on CNBC’s NetNet blog and “splashy” by Patrick Fitzgerald at The Wall Street Journal’s Bankruptcy Blog, with Fitzgerald particularly impressed by the many “nuggets [Pressler] dug up detailing what a blast it is being David Tepper.” “Even if you are a bear or hysterical about quantitative easing or a survivalist or whatever, you should probably take the time to read it,” advised Joshua Brown at Benzinga.com. Readers were interested in hashing out the ways Tepper has come out on top. “[The article] reveals the secret formula of the hedge-fund trader’s success: buying assets without leverage,” attested Carney. “Over and over again, Tepper has hit on investment ideas that would be crippling if he was subject to margin calls.” “When, in the history of American capitalism, did putting your own money behind an idea that shines the light on others’ mismanagement become a dirty word?” asked Teri Buhl on her blog at Forbes. “Yet Tepper’s almost trying to defend the way he makes a living when he tells New York Magazine, ‘Appaloosa is not a “vulture” fund exclusively’ because he also bets long equities.” And others were just amused by Tepper’s lack of preparation for his good fortune. “It might seem all fun and games, but there is a downside to being a billionaire,” noted Bess Levin at Dealbreaker. “Namely, the task of coming up with what to do with your shit-tons of money.”

3. Michael Idov’s profile of Nick Denton, mastermind behind the Gawker blog empire, surprised some readers. (“The Demon Blogger of Fleet Street,” October 4). “That was extremely flattering, and I did not expect it,” wrote a commenter on nymag.com. “Interesting, if you’re interested in Nick Denton. I’m more interested in Gawker Media than in Denton personally,” wrote Felix Salmon at his Reuters blog. “Idov is right that Denton is ‘having too much fun not to stay with’ Gawker Media. But the big question now is about the relaunch of the websites. Far from being the end point of an incredibly long and over-iterated redesign process, the relaunch is actually going to be only the beginning of a determined move into a new world of photo- and video-based online journalism.” One note: In the piece, Idov refers to All That Glitters, a book co-written by Denton and John Gapper, as having “flopped.” That may have been a bit strong: It was well reviewed and a decent commercial success.

4. Will Leitch’s faith in newly minted New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire (“Hope in Shorts,” October 4) didn’t carry over to the online commentariat. “I have been a die-hard Knicks fan all my life. The Knicks will never be a championship team as long as James Dolan owns the team,” averred one commenter. “It starts at the top.” “To be fair, further on in the article [Leitch] describes Stoudemire and his personality—he gets his style right,” noted the blogger at Various Provocations. “But the opening bombast is exaggerated to the point of self-satire: the entitled New Yorker who expects and demands the best for his sports teams despite repeated, profound demonstrations that that’s not the way things work in sports. On a certain level, Knicks fans must realize that this is true.”


5. Adam Sternbergh’s rundown of the new faces of Brooklyn (“Can You Guess Where These People Live?” October 4) led to the usual intra-borough squabbling between old and new residents. “Only newbies to Brooklyn could claim its renaissance,” said one Kings County born-and-bred commenter. “True Brooklynites know and have always known that greatness is found in Brooklyn. Barbra Streisand, Basquiat, Mel Brooks, Rita Hayworth, Chris Rock, Biggie Smalls, and hundreds of others.” “The editors did capture the spirit of the new Brooklyn, the new dynamic that has been at work for about two decades now,” argued Dennis Holt in an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, but others took offense at the idea that Brooklyn was an exportable quantity. “Find some place where you have a few brownstones and some coffee shops and organic restaurants and call it the ‘Brooklyn of X,’ ” argued one commenter. “That doesn’t mean those microneighborhoods are really like Brooklyn—it means that a cliché of a certain small part of the Brooklyn population can be easily replicated in other urban areas.” “How could you fault them?” answered another. “To be like Brooklyn is a compliment.”

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